Palm Beach Gardens Police Officer Nouman Raja, who shot and killed Corey Jones as he waited for roadside assistance, was still on probation and therefore unqualified for undercover surveillance work, according to documents obtained by Yahoo News.
Nonetheless, at about 3:15 a.m. on Oct. 18, Raja, 38, who was in his sixth month with the department, pulled up alongside the stranded Jones, 31, in an unmarked van and exited wearing jeans, a T-shirt, and a ball cap, the report says. He had been conducting surveillance on suspected burglaries.
Via Yahoo News:
But the department’s written procedures, obtained by Yahoo News through the Florida open records law, require that surveillance operations be carried out by tactical officers or detectives. As a new hire, Raja was still on probationary status and assigned to patrol. Nothing in his personnel file indicates other duties…
“It looks like they assigned an untrained officer to conduct surveillance,” said police practices consultant Chuck Drago, who read the department’s surveillance policy at Yahoo News’ request. “Surveillance is an art and it takes training and practice. I think the PD will have to explain the use of an untrained officer in such a position.”
Palm Beach Gardens chief Stephen Stepp, who approved the surveillance guidelines in July, did not respond to an email from Yahoo News seeking comment about why Raja was assigned to surveillance work.
Benjamin Crump, the civil rights lawyer who represents the family, said Jones was licensed to carry a concealed gun, but was likely unaware that he was being approached by a police officer.
A musician who also served as a church drummer, Jones was headed home from a gig when his car broke down. He had just called roadside assistance for help when he was confronted and shot by Raja.
SOURCE: Yahoo News | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty